The next time someone gives you a hard time about wasting too much time on Facebook, tell them that the Pope said it was ok. Today Pope Benedict gave a qualified blessing to Social Networking. He didn't mention any names like "Facebook" or "Twitter" in particular but he went on to praise the potential of the social network. He also laced his praise with some warning.

The Pope doesn't have his own Facebook page but he released a message that would fit easily in a status update:

"Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age."

The Pope went on to say that while this new media offered "a great opportunity," he warned of the negative possibilities like depersonalization, alienation, self-indulgence, and the dangers of having more virtual friends than real ones.

"It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives,"

[via:NyTimes]